An Oakland man pleaded not guilty today to a murder charge for allegedly fatally shooting another man in East Oakland three months ago. Jonathan Rhone, 30, is charged in connection with the shooting death of 24-year-old Oakland resident Jacob Velasquez at about 10:35 p.m. on March 5 in the 2500 block of 11th Avenue, near Bella Vista Elementary School.
Velasquez was shot multiple times inside a sports utility vehicle, Oakland police said. Officer Phong Tran said in a probable cause statement that Rhone surrendered to police at about 7:10 p.m. on March 6, less than 24 hours after Velasquez was killed. Tran said Rhone denied that he had shot and killed Velasquez and told police that another suspect carried out the shooting.
However, Tran said Rhone admitted that after the shooting he removed Velasquez from the SUV and had driven the alleged other suspect away from the scene. Rhone also admitted that he later tried to destroy evidence inside the SUV by cleaning Velasquez’s blood and disposing of expended shell casings, according to Tran. Rhone was released after he was questioned on March 6 but he was arrested in Newark on March 21 after police developed more evidence against him.
In addition to murder, Rhone is charged with being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm as well as unlawful firearm activity conducted by someone convicted of domestic violence. Prosecutors said Rhone also has a prior felony conviction for possession of marijuana. Rhone is scheduled to return to Alameda County Superior Court on Aug. 8 for a preliminary hearing.
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